Summary: It has now been more than forty years since President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on the streets of Dallas on November 22, 1963. No event in the post-war era—not even the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001—has cast such a long shadow over our national life. The murder of the handsome and vigorous president shocked the nation to its core and shook the faith of many Americans in their institutions and way of life. The repercussions from that event continue to be felt down to the present day. Looking back, it is now clear that Kennedy’s death marked a historical crossroads after which point events began to move in surprising and destructive directions.
James Piereson is president of the William E. Simon Foundation. He is also a senior fellow at The Manhattan Institute in New York where he is director of the Center for the American University. He earned his Ph.D. in political science from Michigan State University. Piereson is the author of Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism (Encounter Books, 2007). He is also the author (with J. Sullivan and G. Marcus) of Political Tolerance and American Democracy (University of Chicago Press, 1982). He has published articles and reviews in numerous journals, including Commentary, The New Criterion, The American Political Science Review, The Public Interest, the Journal of Politics, Philanthropy, The American Spectator, The Wall Street Journal, and The Weekly Standard.